HAVERHILL — Today voters will pick their next leaders as Haverhill faces key issues — and there promises to be plenty of color as the balloting unfolds.
There will also be at least one new leader elected — a city councilor for one open spot — and possibly more changes to the face of Haverhill government.
Among the eye-catching highlights will be mayoral challenger Tyler Kimball, a local farm owner, riding to his neighborhood poll aboard a horse-drawn buggy to cast his ballot.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for voters to choose:
Their mayor for the next two years. Incumbent James Fiorentini faces a write-in/sticker challenge from Kimball, who is also a city firefighter. Fiorentini is trying to earn his sixth consecutive term as mayor, a record among Haverhill mayors. Yesterday, Kimball said he planned to take a horse-and-buggy trip to his neighborhood poll late this morning. He also said he will give voters rides to the polls in antique cars.
Nine city councilors, also for two years, including at least one new face to replace 10-year Councilor Michael Hart. He is the only incumbent not seeking reelection. Challengers include two former councilors, two local lawyers, a high school teacher, a school custodian and the owner of a popular downtown sandwich shop. The race has 15 candidates for nine available seats.
Three School Committee members for the next four years. The winners will help lead Haverhill through a series of challenging educational issues, including building a new school in Bradford. Three incumbents face two challengers with extensive educational backgrounds. The committee has six members serving four-year terms, but the seats are staggered so that three come up for election every two years.
Observers, including Hart, said it will not be surprising if voters make several changes to the council or School Committee. He said the field of candidates, particularly in the council race, is not large, but contains quality people running strong races.